The number of refugees crossing the Mediterranean has increased in recent times since the Italian Interior Ministry warned of a new refugee route to Europe from Egypt.
A refugee, Omar Ali left for Europe on a boat three weeks ago, he said he was on board with 250 other refugees for 13 days at sea.
Unlike many refugees before him, Ali did not travel from Libya but from Egypt. He is not an asylum seeker because he is yet to register for asylum.
When we arrived in Egypt, we were surrounded only by people traffickers who wanted to take our money from us.
“When we arrived in Egypt, we were surrounded only by people traffickers who wanted to take our money from us. When we were ready to board the boat, they disappeared and we didn’t see anyone else. We just got on the boat, and no one stopped us,” he said.
Many of those rescued from the waters of the Mediterranean in recent days took the same route.
Most of these refugees went straight to the mainland where they are compelled to register for asylum.
Italy’s coast guard rescued nearly 900 refugees, mostly Syrians, from two boats off western Sicily on Thursday.
Captain of Italian Coastguard, Paolo Monaco, said many fear the calm will not last if a new route opens.
“Normally, we have two boats moored and two at sea. If there is an emergency, we can go out with the full crew, using all four boats,” he said .
A least 340 migrants rescued at sea by the Italian coastguard were brought to safety to the Sicilian port town of Augusta on Friday.